The Best Laid Plans: Europe’s Ambitious Launch Year Goes Awry Due to International Tensions, Schedule Delays

The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December 2021 on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On Christmas Day 2021, an European Ariane 5 rocket roared off its launch pad in French Guiana with the most expensive payload the booster had ever carried, the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope. The launcher performed perfectly, sending the most powerful space telescope on a journey to its final destination 1.5 million km (900 million miles) from Earth. The launch was so accurate that Webb should have sufficient propellant to perform science operations for much longer than its planned 10-year lifetime.

There was a collective sigh of relief among the European, American and Canadian scientists and engineers involved in the long-delayed program. It was a superb Christmas gift to a world suffering through the second year of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

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India Launches 3 Satellites for Singapore

PSLV launches three satellites for Singapore on June 30, 2022. (Credit: ISRO)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched three satellites for Singapore from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Thursday in the nation’s second orbital launch of the year.

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First Ariane 5 Launch of 2022 Orbits Satellites for MEASAT and NSIL

Ariane 5 launches on June 22, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

– The Ariane 5, operated by Arianespace, has successfully placed two telecommunications satellites into geostationary orbit: MEASAT-3d for the Malaysian operator MEASAT, and GSAT-24 built by the Indian Space Agency ISRO on behalf of NSIL.
– Carrying out its first mission of the year, and the 113th overall, Ariane 5 once again demonstrates its exceptional reliability.
– Mission VA257 will improve broadband coverage in the Asia-Pacific region and represents another commercial success for Ariane 5 in the Asia-Pacific market.

KOUROU, French Guiana, June 22, 2022 (Arianespace PR) — On Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 06:50 pm local time, an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America), successfully orbiting two geostationary telecommunication satellites, MEASAT-3d and GSAT-24.

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Hindustan Aeronautics, L&T Consortium to Build PSLV Boosters for ISRO

PSLV rocket launches the EOS-4 Earth observation satellite. (Credit: ISRO)

Indian media are reporting that a partnership of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and L&T consortium submitted the winning bid to manufacture five Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) privatizes key elements of the nation’s space program. BusinessToday.In reports:

“The company is the lead partner with L&T sharing the work. Other vendors too will be involved with the consortium in the manufacturing of the launch vehicles (LVs). However, the contract is yet to be formalised/ awarded,” HAL said in a statement.

This will be the first time that the industry will build a LV and will pave the way for commercialisation of other LVs, including the small satellite launch vehicle.

“ISRO’s commercial arm, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) had floated a request for proposal for the said work in December, 2020,” HAL added.

The first rocket is expected to be realised sometime during the second half of 2024 and the balance four rockets will be delivered during 2025 and 2026 at two rockets per year.

India has taken a number of legal steps to privatize the nation’s government-run space program. Legal and regulatory changes have been undertaken, and private Indian space companies have signed agreements giving them access to ISRO facilities for testing purposes.

NSIL/ISRO and OneWeb to Collaborate for Taking Digital Connectivity to Every Corner of the World

GSLV Mk III booster lifts off. (Credit: ISRO)
  • ISRO’s PSLV and GSLV-MkIII to become a part of launch programme for OneWeb’s LEO satellites that will beam high speed broadband on earth

LONDON and NEW DELHI, India, 11 October 2021 (OneWeb PR) — Bharti-backed OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company, today announced an  arrangement through Letter of Intent with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to use the Indian-built PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and the heavier GSLV-MkIII (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) as potential platforms to launch OneWeb’s satellites in India from 2022.

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NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) Undertakes “1st Demand Driven” Communication Satellite Mission as Part of Space Reforms

BANGALURU, India (NewSpace India PR) — NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), incorporated during March 2019, is a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), under Department of Space (DOS) and is the commercial arm of ISRO. As part of “Space Reforms” announced by Government of India during June 2020, NSIL got mandated to undertake operational satellite missions on a “Demand Driven” model, wherein NSIL has the responsibility to build, launch, own & operate the satellite and provide services to its committed customer.

As part of this initiative, NSIL is now undertaking its “1st Demand Driven communication satellite mission” named GSAT-24 which is an 4 tonne class Ku-band satellite. NSIL is getting this satellite built by ISRO and will be launching it using Ariane-5 launcher operated by M/s Arianespace. The entire satellite capacity on-board GSAT-24 will be leased to its committed customer M/s Tata Sky for meeting their DTH application needs.

NSIL has entered into necessary agreement with M/s Tata Sky for utilising the satellite capacity on-board GSAT-24 and with M/s Arianespace for seeking the launch services. GSAT-24 satellite will be owned and operated by NSIL on a commercial basis. GSAT-24 satellite mission will be fully funded by NSIL.

NSIL is envisaging the launch of GSAT-24 satellite during 1st quarter of 2022.

Arianespace to Launch GSAT-24 Satellite for NSIL with Ariane 5

The Ariane 5 for Flight VA251 departs the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone with its EUTELSAT KONNECT and GSAT-30 satellite passengers. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company under Department of Space (DOS), has chosen Arianespace to launch its GSAT-24 telecommunications satellite.
     
  • The satellite will be placed into orbit during an Ariane 5 mission scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2022.
     
  • GSAT-24 will be the 25th Indian satellite orbited by Arianespace, highlighting an outstanding partnership. 

ÉVRY-COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — On September 28, 2021, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) entrusted Arianespace with the launch of its GSAT-24 telecommunications satellite. GSAT-24 is scheduled for launch in the 1st quarter of 2022, from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on one of the seven Ariane 5 missions remaining to be performed with the heavy-lift launcher.

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Indian Space Commercialization Gathers Speed as Government Eyes Foreign Direct Investment Policy Changes

The Indian government’s efforts to commercialize its space sector has been picking up speed over the past two years. Outlook India spotlighted two important indicators in a recent story:

About 40 space startups and industries are in consultation with ISRO for support related to various domains of space activity such as development of satellites, launch vehicles, develop applications and provide space-based services.

India’s Foreign Direct Investment policy in the space sector is also getting revised which, the ISRO Chairman and DoS Secretary K Sivan believes, will open up huge avenues for foreign companies to invest in the country.

India’s space industry has been largely closed and government run. Changing the investment policy could bring a flood of foreign money into a range of areas, including communications and launch vehicle development.

The government has established NewSpace India Ltd. under the Department of Space to spearhead commercialization efforts. The company has been overseeing efforts to turn over the production of India’s government-built launch vehicles to private companies.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently signed agreements that will allow two private launch vehicle developers, Agnikul Cosmos and Skyroot Aerospace, access to the space agency’s facilities and technical expertise. Additional agreements are anticipated.

ISRO has established the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Center (IN-SPACe), whose responsibility is to facilitate cooperation between the space agency and private companies.

India Moves Forward with Plans to Privatize Production of Launch Vehicles

GSLV Mark III inaugural flight test. (Credit: ISRO)

India is moving forward with transferring production of its government-built launch vehicles to private companies, Outlook India reports.

The Department of Space (DoS) plans to realise entirely-built rockets — GSLV-Mk III and SSLV — from Indian industry partners, in addition to PSLV, according to a top official of its commercial arm NSIL.

NSIL (NewSpace India Limited) has received three bids — HAL-L&T, BEL-Adani-BEML, and BHEL, in response to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by it for end-to-end production of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle).

“We are now going through the techno-commercial evaluation (in respect of the three bids)”, NSIL Chairman and Managing Director, D Radhakrishnan, told PTI here.

He said the process will be completed within the next two months with one of the bidders bagging the contract. The selected bidder will be responsible for realisation of five numbers of PSLV.

GSLV-Mk III is India’s most powerful satellite booster. It will be used to launch ISRO’s Gaganyaan crewed spacecraft. SSLV is the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, whose maiden flight has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ISRO to Launch Brazilian Earth Observation Satellite, 18 Secondary Payloads

PSLV-C51 on the launch pad. (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — PSLV-C51, which is the 53rd mission of PSLV, will launch Amazonia-1 of Brazil as primary satellite and 18 Co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. The launch is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 28 at 1024 IST [0454 UTC/11:54 p.m. on Feb. 27], subject to weather conditions.

Watch live from 0950 IST [0420 UTC/11:20 p.m. on Feb. 27] onwards here.

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Spaceflight Inc. Readies Its Largest Satellite Contracted to Date, Amazonia-1, for Launch

Amazonia-1 satellite

The launch service provider purchased an entire PSLV from NSIL to support the launch of Brazil’s first Earth observation satellite

SEATTLE, February 17, 2021 (Spaceflight Inc. PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the global launch services provider, today revealed details about the upcoming launch of its largest customer satellite launch to date, the Amazonia-1 spacecraft. To accommodate the nearly 700-kilogram satellite, Spaceflight purchased an entire NewSpace India Limited’s (NSIL) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The mission, named PSLV-C51/ Amazonia-1, is targeted for launch at the end of February from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota (SDSC, SHAR), India.  

The spacecraft was produced by INPE, the National Institute for Space Research (in Portuguese: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais), Brazil’s leading entity dedicated to space research and exploration and is the first Earth observation satellite to be completely designed, integrated, tested and operated in Brazil. Amazonia-1 will launch under a commercial arrangement with NSIL, an Indian government company under Department of Space (DOS) and the commercial arm of ISRO. 

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Spaceflight Inc. Launch Cadence Accelerates with Upcoming Electron and PSLV Missions to Expand Constellations

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

Rideshare provider to deploy nine spacecraft for customers Canon Electronics, Kleos Space and Spire on next two missions

SEATTLE – October 14, 2020 – Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will execute two launches on two different continents in a matter of weeks; one aboard a Rocket Lab Electron and the other on NewSpace India Limited’s (NSIL) PSLV. For both missions, Spaceflight arranged the launch and is providing mission management and rideshare integration services for its customers Canon Electronics, Kleos Space and Spire.

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Kleos Space Scouting Mission Launch Scheduled for November

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

LUXEMBOURG, 17 September 2020 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space S.A (ASX:KSS, Frankfurt:KS1), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company is pleased to provide an update on the Kleos Scouting Mission launching on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) PSLV-C49 Mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota Range in India (SHAR).

The Company has been informed (by NSIL via Spaceflight Inc.) that the launch of the four Kleos satellites planned on-board PSLV-C49 mission is being targeted during the 1st half of November 2020, based on the current status of planning of activities. This schedule is subject to change due to operational circumstances beyond NSIL control.

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Virtual Conference to Focus on Indian Space Program

PSLV-C48 launch (Credit: ISRO)

The virtual International Space Conference and Exhibition, scheduled for Sept. 15-17, will focus on the Indian government’s efforts to commercial its space program.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is organizing the conference in association with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Antrix Corporation Limited (ANTRIX) with support from NewSpace India Limited.

“Ushering the new era for Indian space sector” is the theme of the conference and exhibition. It will include the participation of Indian space officials and entrepreneurs as well as representatives from foreign space programs.

You can find more information about the conference and how to sign up here.